Historical Perspective and the Song of Roland

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Kyle Cunningham


The Song of Roland is one of the magna opera of medieval French literature; Roland’s legendary battle at Roncevaux in the Pyrenees Mountains and his ultimate sacrifice against the forces of Muslim Spain becomes the epitome of martial chivalry and noble conduct. However, the Roland of history and the Roland of myth are separated by 300 years of societal change. As such, an analysis of the Roland in respect to the time period of its composition is necessary in order to understand the ideals and beliefs of those who would have heard the famous poem.


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